Answered By: Gabe Gossett
Last Updated: Jan 31, 2022     Views: 13725

A DOI (Digital Object Identifier) code is a unique and permanent string of letters and numbers representing  an article or document that will take you to that article wherever it is located on the Web. DOI numbers provide a permanent link to an article and are required for many citation styles. 

Question: Should I use the entire web address or just the DOI in my reference list?

Answer: Whenever possible, include the the DOI at the end of the reference entry. If a DOI is not present, it is ok to use the URL. (APA, 2020, pp.298-301)

For example, if you have the following URL http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.library.wwu.edu/10.1177/0017896911419346 you should reformat it to, https://doi.org/10.1177/0017896911419346

Reference list example

Bizjak, M. C. (2009). Understanding emotional health and psychological adjustment in students with or without a specific hearing deficiency. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 21, 213–224. https://doi.org/10.1177/0017896911419346

Question: Is DOI a date in a citation?

DOI is not a date. It is a digital object identifier. It is a unique locator number for a particular source. Usually it is used with journals, but you will also find them for some books and even blogs. Not every journal article will have a DOI.

Question: How do I find a DOI for an article when it is not provided in the APA citation?

Answer: Many journals do not provide DOIs for articles. When no DOI is on an article, include the URL link, instead. Not every journal uses DOIs because they have to pay to register the numbers.